US Looks to Military Engagement With Burma

Soldiers salute Burma’s army chief during a parade to mark the 67th anniversary of Armed Forces Day in the capital, Naypyidaw, in March. (Photo: Reuters)

WASHINGTON—As bilateral ties get back on track, the United States is looking to take “nascent steps” to build up its military relationship with Burma, a senior US official said on Wednesday.

The Pentagon is considering closer military engagement through non-lethal training of Burmese officers, a military education exchange, humanitarian assistance, military medicine and defense reform, a senior defense department official said.

“On Burma, we’re at a phase where we’re looking at nascent steps on the US-Burmese military-to-military relationship,” the official told reporters. “We generally support the proposition that carefully calibrated and appropriately targeted and scoped military-to-military contact is effective in advancing overall reform efforts in Burma.”

The senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, referred to the recent improvement in bilateral ties between the two countries. Early this year, the US government sent two of its defense officials to Burma as part of a delegation led by the deputy secretary of state, William Burns.

The objective was to “really start this dialogue and gain a greater understanding of what needs to be done, what should be done, where we should sit on this conversation,” the official said. “So, I think the bottom line is we’re interested, we’re looking at ways to move forward and I think you’ll see some appropriately calibrated steps in the near future.”

One Response to US Looks to Military Engagement With Burma

  1. On one hand they express concerns about the civil war especially with the Baptist Kachin. On the other hand they want closer military ties. Typical meesa ta hpet ye-hmote ta hpet ( a flaming torch in one hand, a bucket of water in the other) policy. The British too negotiated for a military mission to remain for three years after independence as agreed in the Let Ya Freeman Annex  of the Nu Attlee Treaty which proved to be a bone of contention between Right and Left with dire consequences for the country. 

    Influence over the military is a sure way of controlling a country and steering it where they want however they dress it up in order to justify it, and Indonesia past as well as Indonesia present is as good an example as any. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.